Going online is not the answer for journalism, nor is television


There is such a high level of impact in the art of journalism, the science of physics and the twists and turns within the economy that I often fail to comprehend the news of the world.

It’s like the great philosopher Barney used to say: “That’s deep.”

And now the vehicle that brings us the news of the world is going through such a transition that our old ways of simply reading the news may no longer be viable.

The corporation that brought us The Birmingham News has decided to deliver us an “enhanced newspaper,” a phrase that makes as much sense as the meaning of apps.

An enhanced newspaper?

How can something be a newspaper that only comes out three days a week?

You can’t just print obituaries three times a week.

And news doesn’t seem to be news when it’s not printed on newsprint.

It’s not right when you have to read it on the bright whiteness of being online.

There is nothing permanent about being online. One blink and it’s gone.

The printing press brought us into Western civilization.

Initially, I thought I could make the change. I figured I could read the news online as easily I could read it on newsprint. But I can’t.

It’s like having light bread without any peanut butter.

I am not going to subscribe to an enhanced newspaper. They’re asking us to read three editions a week so they can make a profit from advertisers. There’s nothing wrong with making a profit, but the change from seven editions a week to three is radical. It is simply unacceptable to me.


The Atlanta paper is not our cup of tea. It is so Atlanta.

The Montgomery paper doesn’t know what time it is. Nor does Columbus.

Here is what my wife and I have decided. We are going to take the O-A News because we have no choice. We are going to drop The Birmingham News and take The New York Times.

Supposedly, both The O-A and The Times will be delivered to our news tube every morning.

I have to ask why it is that The Times can be written in New York, printed by satellite in Georgia and delivered to us in a pickup truck, but The Birmingham News can’t figure this out.

If The Times can do this and still make a profit then why can’t The News?

We took The News to keep up with issues on a state level. The News had more reporters covering the capitol in Montgomery than the Montgomery Advertiser.

The old reliable Associated Press will have to keep us posted on the state level via the O-A.

Of course I am being irrational, but when a corporation has the audacity to tell me that I should subscribe to “an enhanced newspaper,” which is the new slogan for The Birmingham News, I become irrational.

So, as of right now, we’re subscribing to the O-A, the NYT and the Opelika Observer for the printed version of the news.

As you might suspect I appreciate the columnists in the Observer.

Incredible changes are taking place, and we don’t know what might happen next in the way of news. If all the advertisers were to flock to the Observer then maybe we could go big time, but that’s not likely.

Television news teams are getting better, but they spend all their time covering local crime, which should be on page four. Television, however, only has a page one; it doesn’t have a page four.

There are those who say that the future of journalism is in television and computers. Maybe so, maybe not. There is a new phrase going around called convergence journalism, and it has to do with the digital way of life. If that is where we are going, so be it.

But I am just so thankful that the good ol’ New York Times is available. It is a monument to the printed word through its dedication to thoroughness in reporting and its thoughtfulness in columns and editorials.

One does not have to go online to read the printed word.

Gillis Morgan is an associate professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University and an award-winning columnist. He can be reached at morgarg7@aol.com


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